by Amy M. Reade
Recipe for a chocolate treat at the end of this post.
I am, in general, not one of those people who gets sentimental over Valentine’s Day. I remind my husband every year not to get flowers for me because the cats eat them, and I get stuck cleaning up their vomit. We do not buy gifts for each other because—why? We have the things we need, and the last thing we need are more things.
But this is not to say I ignore Valentine’s Day. I think it’s wonderful to have one day of the year set aside specifically for people to remind their loved ones how important they are. And there are lots of ways to do that—yes, some people give flowers, others give chocolate…or jewelry…or teddy bears…or whatever. Or books (subliminal message there—did you see that?)
In my opinion, though, cooking a meal for someone is the best way I can think of to show that person I love them. And that is why one of my Valentine’s Day traditions is to make a nice dinner for my family, including something chocolate for dessert. My other tradition is giving each of my kids a small gift at dinnertime.
This year will be a little different in a couple ways. First, my eldest child is a freshman in college, so she won’t be joining us for dinner. It will seem a little strange, but I suppose it’s really nothing compared to the changes that we’ll experience as she moves through college and into a career. Second, (and this one warms my heart), in a twist on tradition, my middle child (age 16) has asked if she and her brother can make dinner for my husband and me on Valentine’s Day. Actually, this is how the conversation went:
Daughter: I told Mom I want us to make dinner for her and Dad on Valentine’s Day. You want to help, right?
Son: Uh, not really.
Daughter: Well, you’re gonna help anyways.
Yeah, I know what charmers they can be.
The point is, though, that the tradition of making a nice dinner for the family will continue, even if I’m not the one doing the cooking this year.
Because that’s what Valentine’s Day is all about, right? It’s not just about romance, it’s about showing love. All love—the love between spouses, the love of parents for their children and vice versa, the love shared between and among siblings, the love between friends.
So this Valentine’s Day I’m pretty sure my husband and I will be enjoying tacos and homemade chocolate pudding, and we will love every minute of it.
If I were in charge of planning this year’s Valentine’s Day dessert, this is what I would have chosen:
Chocolate Pudding Cake
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and 2 T. cocoa in a bowl. Stir in milk and butter. Spread in 9-inch square pan. Sprinkle with mixture of brown sugar and 1/4 c. cocoa. Pour hot water over entire batter. Bake 30-40 minutes. Serve with homemade whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Your valentine(s) will thank you.
Remember my subtle mention above about books? My new book, The House on Candlewick Lane, was released on February 7. Though it does showcase the love of a mother for her daughter, the love between two sisters, and even romantic love, the book is really about a mother’s desperate search for her daughter in Edinburgh, Scotland, following the daughter’s abduction. Here’s the link to the book on Amazon: (if you have ad blocker on you may not see this link)
I must have fallen asleep because I sat up with a start, not remembering where I was. But after a second it all came back to me in a rush of fear and indignation. I was sitting on the twin bed. It was hot. My hair stuck to the back of my neck and my forehead. Gray light forced its way into the room through the small window that overlooked the fields behind the house on Candlewick Lane. The rain was still falling, smearing the glass. I wondered where Neill was. I knew pounding on the door would be no use, but I had to do something. I had to try. My fists bore the bruises from my earlier futile attempts to be heard. There was nothing to do but wait to be released from this tower prison. Someone had to let me go.
They couldn’t keep me here forever.
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